Sunday in the Park

I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in West London, and as happy as I am to be rude about Hounslow I do have to concede that we have some amazing parks. One of those, Osterley, became something of a fixture for my family, and then in turn for the Charleesi as she has grown up too.

Maintained by the National Trust, Osterley is largely freely open to the public, and is used by families and dog-walkers all year round. In the summer, it’s a favourite for picnics, and if it snows you can barely move for snowmen.

Merida, lost in contemplation

Today, it was Charleesi’s turn to introduce someone new to it. She’d taken a few shots there recently with her new camera and mentioned in passing to Lady P that she thought it would make a good backdrop for cosplay pictures. With half an eye on the weather, the challenge was accepted, and that’s why we spent a good hour or so this afternoon, in the company of Merida from Disney’s Brave.

We were expecting some varied reactions, and West London did not disappoint us. Many people ignored us, or pretended to while casting suspicious eyes in our direction, as if expecting us to break out in song while film crews captured it for You’ve Been Framed. Some of the children waved and grinned, with one young girl running to embrace Merida and having a shy conversation before running back, starstruck, to her parents. Her brother had stayed back, hiding behind his father’s legs, desperate not to admit he was fascinated.

Then we had the older generation, shall we say, who didn’t recognise the character or understand why Lady P was dressed up and having her photo taken on a cold Sunday afternoon. We had some lovely confused comments as their brains caught up with them halfway through the conversations.

All in all, a wonderfully different way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We retired to Maidment Towers for hot chocolate, and we’ll see what awesomeness comes from the shoot.

Photo is courtesy of ItsLottiePhotography.

Eberron Campaign Mapping

Crusader Kitty
Crusader Kitty

I’m having a gentle Saturday, and in between watching films and Lady M trying to get one hundred percent on Peggle2 (not necessarily at the same time), I’ve been finalising the maps for our Monday night Dungeons and Dragons games. The structure that the players have been exploring in search of the plot macguffin was built by ancient giants – so to reflect the scale of the previous inhabitants has meant building a series of maps on an appropriately huge size.

Maps built for medium (human)-sized inhabitants will usually be depicted with five to ten foot wide corridors in enclosed castle or dungeon environments – and I use a grid on the maps scaled at 70 pixels equalling five foot. The original builders of the temple/observatory that the adventurers are exploring averaged about eighteen foot in height, so I’m scaling to around four times the normal corridor, room and door sizes.

warforged barbarian with an axeNow, I’ve been using a mixture of published and original material, so at least I’ve not been going at this totally blind, but to present the maps through the Roll20 interface I’ve had to manually recreate and edit them on an individual basis. I could have copied and pasted them from the Acrobat documents to save time, but they would have been monochrome and limited in presentation. By recreating them I’ve had a free hand to expand the scope, content and re-usability of those resources.

But I have to admit, there have been more than a few moments where it’s felt a bit of a faff. The reward comes in the player reactions and comments as we’ve been playing over the last seven months or so. I think, from the rate we’re going through the adventure that there’s probably another month or so, at most. After that? Who knows. I know the next big adventure block that I’m adapting, but I do need to bridge from this extravaganza to that – so there’s some original content I’ll need to write.

I’m looking forward to it.